It's been 22 years, 3 months, and 10 days since the day I was, physically, born. Sounds weird when you put it like that, huh? I've lived that time surrounded by friends, family, co-workers, teammates, and students like myself. I've been loved, I've loved, I've been hurt, I've hurt others. I've been disappointed, confused, lonely, depressed, but most recently I've been joyful, optimistic, realistic, logical, and... healed. But I was't always healing. I wasn't always, and authentically, optimistic, even though I portrayed a girl who was. I wasn't always joyful, even though I gave that impression. I wasn't always really following God, even though my I gave the impression that I was... my identity was in my reputation.
So what was I?
That's right, I was a FAKE. A huge fake (so, if you knew me in high school/ early college, my walk always felt like talk, and my morals were legalistic – I'll have to elaborate more on that at another time), but the point is I was dead. My soul was dead, and I felt like I was dying. I lived a life dictated by fear.
In January of 2012, I hit [my] rock bottom. I felt as if I had finally been torn apart internally... I couldn't hold my act, nor myself, together anymore. I was BROKEN. In every sense.... spiritually, sexually, mentally, emotionally. I had fallen apart. I felt betrayed and taken advantage of by God, myself, and others. I knew no grace.
But the beautiful perspective regarding hitting rock bottom is that once you hit, you truly desire a way out. In that moment, you become vulnerable, you become real. Your walls come down and God, if you want Him to, can finally work (because God only works with those who are devastatingly real with their sin... because the Cross was devastatingly real for our sin).
At that time in my life, God had put me and my christian reputation up as a potential candidate for the, perspective, leadership team for Biltmore Baptist Church's satellite campus on the campus of Western Carolina University. Little did I know, that was the start of God answering my prayer regarding my desire to know if He was actually real. I would experience what it's like when our creator pursues His children. And man, is it a love that satisfies you in the DEEPEST parts of your soul.
God began pursuing me, I began to believe and have faith in God and that He may just love me after all. God walked me through a lot of my problems for the next 2 years, 8 months, and 29 days, but the thing that I was most reluctant to accept was that I NEEDED to be single. I didn't know who the heck I was to Christ or who I was newly found in Christ...
I had never lived a moment not dreaming about being with a man, crushing on a man, or lusting after a man. I didn't know what life was like without living for that hope. The fact of the matter is,
I wanted a boyfriend more than I wanted to know the One who made life itself.
Ouch, right? How selfish am I?
My desire for a relationship was my greatest idol; it was easily the biggest obstacle standing between me and my prayer to deepen my relationship with God, as well as with myself.. but I still didn't want to give it up!
I wanted a, quick fix, way out of my misery.
I wanted to be like all of my other Christian friends (which literally 95% of them have been blessed or are getting blessed with beautiful Godly relationships), and with my destructive thought pattern, had convinced myself that I was as close to God as I needed to get and that being in a relationship would heal me, would make me whole... that it would give me the self-confidence and identity I was so desperate for.
I wanted God to bless me by taking my life down that avenue, but that hasn't been His plan for me.
Gods plan for us is never based off of what His plan looks like for somebody else. His plan for us is what's best for us as individuals.
All of our strengths, weaknesses, idols, needs, etc. are different. The life you're going through life right now as a single woman, that's the life God wants you to be living right now, and if you're struggling with that, it helps make it easier by asking Him to show you why (which is always a good place to start:) But, be weary... He just may show you some dark places in yourself that you just don't want to confront, but by trusting in Him, learning to trust yourself, and following His lead, you can grow out of it (this is also commonly known as the process of sanctification)
By being single, I have gotten to see and work through my biggest flaws, my deepest insecurities, and my worst fears.
Here are some of my best "By being single..." statements. And, trust me, you don't want me to write out all of them [I have a lot] :) If you're a single woman, I challenge you to make some of your own to put into perspective why you've been put on the path of singleness right now.
Remember, as a Christian, the path you are walking is the path that will best sanctify you: the process of life as a Christian is a process of sanctification. If you can't think of any, and you're insulted and don't think I know what I'm talking about, and still swear by the idea that having a boyfriend will solve all your problems, I dare to say that you are in the same boat I was... a relationship is the idol you give yourself to and bow your heart before.
Anyways, here are my some of my statements:
By being single, I've gotten to deal with MY issues with myself and my perception of God.
By being single, I have deepened my relationship with my Savior.
By being single, I have experienced FULLNESS OF JOY.
By being single, I have experienced healing.
By being single, I have learned to stand up for myself.
By being single, I have determined what I stand for.
By being single, I have found out who I really am without all the masks.
By being single, I have learned to trust myself.
By being single, I have learned to love myself.
By being single, I have broken bad habits.
By being single, I have defeated body image issues.
By being single, I have developed a deeper understanding and love for others.
By being single, I have grown up.
I can sum up all these statements in two simple ones,
By being single, God has saved me.
By being single, I have found Life.
"Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst…” (John 6:35)
Now, having a man to do life with, be your lover, your confidant, is a beautiful thing!! It's something that's intended for us, just look at our creation story. He created man & woman for each other. It's even something that I desire, BUT, in order for a relationship to work in the way that God intends it to, you must first be your own person, and you must learn to be dependent on yourself, but reliant on God.
If you're struggling with singleness, know that it really is a beautiful way to live! Even though you may not feel like it now, I promise you that it will bring you to places in your life and will bless you in ways that you can only be blessed as a single woman. So embrace it, and stop trying to run away from it. If it wasn't the best thing for you right now, you wouldn't be single. And, remember, God knows what's best for you! If He knew how to create the universe in just the right way for everything to work in (perfect, live sustaining) order, you can trust that you being single isn't for no reason. It may be for a season, and like each day, you can't rush it... God's timing is PERFECT. You've got to take this time for what it is & LIVE IN THE PRESENT. (reference my blog post "Are We There Yet" for what it means to live proactively while waiting).
Just incase you were wondering how long the woman that has been telling you how much to be single has actually been single for, I've been single for the past four years, but I've been becoming emotionally single for the past 2 years. I hope this gives you hope. :)
"But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint." (Isaiah 40:31)
"For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it." (Hebrews 12:1)
"May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy," (Colossians 1:11)
"For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery." (Galatians 5:1)
"And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ." (Philippians 1:6)
"Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually!" (Psalm 105:4)
"Then we shall not turn back from you; give us life, and we will call upon your name! Restore us, O Lord God of hosts! Let your face shine, that we may be saved!" (Pslam 80:18-19_
"And he said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest?" (Luke 12:22-31)
If you're a reader and want some books that will help you along in the season of your life, check out these books!
"Captivating" by John & Staci Eldredge
"The Woman I Am Becoming" by T. Suzanne Eller
"What Is He Thinking?" by Rebecca St. James (yeah, I know the title sounds desperate, but just go with it.)
"Gospel" by JD Greear
Check out this video — filled with such encouragement & truth